With graduation just around the corner, some students are pressed to find a job or internship.
Nathan Hentis, a senior from Red Bud studying marketing, said he started his job search about six months ago and has landed two interviews.
“I definitely should have started the search earlier,” he said.
For students like Hentis, the job market can be competitive, and it could take months, or even years, to find a job.
Matt Purdy, director of Career Services for the College of Business, said when it comes to the job search, start early.
Purdy said he tells freshmen it’s never too early to start working on a resume or networking, which he said is the No. 1 job strategy.
Networking is really important, he said, and it’s also easy. Students may be networking and not even realize it, because they don’t notice all the connections their friends have.
“You know people, but you don’t know who they know,” Purdy said. “You never know who somebody else knows.”
Abby Voss, a senior from Carbondale studying speech communication, said although she started her job search about a week ago, her previous internship and future volunteer work in Ireland will help her to network successfully.
“Those are the people you’re going to be talking to in terms of when you do want a job,” she said.
Michelle Garrett, recruitment coordinator at Career Services, said she agreed making connections is very important but that the Internet is also a huge source for jobs.
“You can’t really conduct an effective job search in this day and age without using the Internet,” she said.
It’s not a good idea to use the large job search boards, though, Garrett said, because although it sometimes helps, it matches users to a lot of jobs outside their preferred field.
Kelsey Eversole, a senior from Tower Hill studying microbiology, said she had to use CareerBuilder, a large job search site, because most search engines won’t turn up results for microbiology.
Garrett said the best idea for students is to first use Saluki Recruiting, which is the Career Services’ online job search board. The website contains job postings specifically for SIUC students as well as a partnership with job search boards that are oriented for college graduates.
Garrett said there were 373 full-time job postings on the site and 58 internship postings as of Tuesday.
Students can upload such things as resumes, portfolios, reference lists and cover letters onto the site, she said, and a staff member of Career Services will look over them and give suggestions.
Before uploading a resume, though, Purdy said, students should have someone else look at it, because a spell checker isn’t always reliable.
When not using Saluki Recruiting, Garrett said it’s best to check out the websites of professional organizations in the student’s career field, because there are often job postings there as well.
Besides job search boards, Garrett said LinkedIn, a website for professional networking, is a great way to make connections. She said other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be good for the search as well.
“Don’t be afraid to use your Facebook, but be aware there really is no such thing as complete privacy,” Garrett said.
She recommended students take down any pictures they wouldn’t want a potential employer to see, and she said it’s also smart to make the profile picture the same for every social media site so the employer can recognize the applicant.
“Many employers will have people they pay full-time just to find out what they can about candidates on the Internet,” Garrett said.
Without the Internet, Purdy said, students can check out job fairs to meet potential employers. When talking to a potential employer, he said, it’s important the students list their achievements at their previous job rather than just discussing what the job entailed.
The fairs offer not only full-time jobs but internships as well.
Travina Wynn, a senior from Chicago studying social work, said internships are extremely important for her major. She said as an undergraduate student, she was required to have 420 hours of interning, while as a graduate student she must gain 900 hours of experience.
Eversole said while her major doesn’t require an internship or externship, experience is valuable, so she was an undergraduate research assistant in the department of microbiology this semester.
If a student applies for an internship over the summer and doesn’t get one, Purdy said he or she should volunteer at an organization in the field. He said it’s great for networking, but it’s still work.
“It doesn’t mean you get a free pass or free ride,” Purdy said. “You still have to roll up your sleeves.”
Garrett said beside networking, the volunteer hours are also good to put on a resume. Students can come to Career Services to help identify the organization that would be best to volunteer for.
One issue some students have is getting a job before they graduate because they can’t start immediately.
Hentis said after his interviews, he was told he would get a call after graduation pertaining to the jobs. Eversole said she’s been looking for a job in Chicago, but it’s hard to make it there at the end of the school year. She said she has received emails from potential employers who said they would interview her when she makes it to the area.
“It’s just kind of hard when you’re far away,” Eversole said.
One student, Eric Wolske, a senior from Champaign studying plant and soil science, hasn’t had that problem.
He said he saw job listings on the agriculture list serve and landed a job about two months ago that’s 20 minutes away. Wolske said he’s been working part time at the job while in school but will start full time next week.
Not all students have this luck, though. Garrett said despite the Career Services being offered to students, she often sees alumni come into the office for help because they didn’t seek it before graduation. She said, though, Career Services happily helps alumni as well as students.